Doing Research

Accessing the Collections

at the Church History Library



The library’s catalog is online and available to the public. It details the holdings of the Church History Library, including both published and unpublished items. Click here for a brief explanation of the types of materials held in the library’s collections.

The library’s catalog:

  1. Allows patrons to search for items by author, title, subject, or key word.
  2. Provides digital images, available for download, of many of the library’s original manuscripts and photographs.
  3. Gives patrons the ability to suggest that specific items be digitized and uploaded to the catalog so they can be accessed remotely.
  4. Enables patrons to request many items from the secured stacks directly from the catalog without the assistance of a staff member.
  5. Enables patrons with a valid LDS Account to save search results and receive notifications when new items that fit certain criteria are added to the catalog.
  6. Contains links to the library’s Ask Us form, where patrons may submit general reference questions or questions about a specific item.

Click here for a brief tutorial on how to use our online catalog.

Click here for a brief tutorial on how to locate complete source information.


The Church History Library holds original items that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. In order to make the collections more accessible to a worldwide audience, the library staff is dedicated to an ongoing process of digitizing as many collection items as possible. The digitization queue is largely driven by patron need. You can make digitization requests on-site at the library, or you can go online to the library catalog, identify the item you wish to have digitized, and click the Suggest Digitization button. See our Guidelines for Copying and Obtaining Digitized Material page for more information.

Limited Access

As is the case with most archival institutions around the world, the Church History Library houses some collections that are not available to the public for a variety of reasons. For more information about why the library limits access to some of its collections, please review our Access Policy. However, patrons may request special permission to access restricted collections or even portions of restricted collections. You can request access to restricted materials by completing a web form that is submitted to our Restricted Access Committee. On that web form, you must indicate your specific reasons for needing access to the collection and how you will use that information if access is granted. Once the request is submitted, it is reviewed by the committee, and you will be notified whether or not the request was approved. If it was approved, you will likely be given temporary access to the collection online or permission to view copies at the library. 

The web form used to request access to restricted collections is available only through staff members. If you would like to request access to an item in a restricted collection, click the Ask Us button on any page of the catalog to find out how to send your request to the Restricted Access Committee.

Policies and Guidelines

Access to Church History Library collections is governed by various established policies and processes. Visit our Policies and Guidelines page to review our guidelines on general rules of conduct, use of the reading room, and access to restricted collections.


All patrons must register in order to use our secured-stacks materials here at the library or to use the e-shelf in the library catalog. The process is similar to that of applying for a library card at your local public library. All patrons must have an LDS Account to register. It is not necessary to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in order to obtain an LDS Account. Instructions on how to register online can be found on our Patron Self-Registration page.